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Critical Response Unit Lesson 2: What is a Critic?

A cartoon showing two monkeys. One is painting a soup can on an easel, and the other is standing behind the first, speaking. The caption reads “Personally, I think you should have stuck with Abstract Expressionism.”

Cartoon (Two monkeys painting a mock Campbell's Soup can), ca. 1964
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

This lesson is a starting point for understanding critical response and analysis, as it introduces the concept of a critic. Students learn the difference between an informed and an uninformed opinion and discuss the kinds of judgments they make in their everyday lives.

Objectives

  • Students will define and discuss the role of a critic.
  • Students will differentiate between two different types of opinions (informed and uninformed).
  • Students will analyze a film, music, or fashion review by identifying the critic’s opinions, interpretations, and judgments that make up the critique.
A cartoon showing two monkeys. One is painting a soup can on an easel, and the other is standing behind the first, speaking. The caption reads “Personally, I think you should have stuck with Abstract Expressionism.”

Cartoon (Two monkeys painting a mock Campbell's Soup can), ca. 1964
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Vocabulary

Discussion Questions

Ask students the following questions:

  • What is a critic?
  • Where have you heard or seen a critic’s opinion?

Materials

Procedure

  1. Define and discuss the role of a critic and accompanying vocabulary using the PowerPoint: Critical Response (slides 6-10).
  2. Discuss the difference between an informed and uninformed opinion.
  3. Ask students, “When are we critics?” Discuss how they make critical judgments everyday, about things such as music, fashion, and movies.
  4. Ask students if they have seen a critic’s opinion in a newspaper or on TV. Show examples.
  5. As a homework assignment, have students find critical reviews of music, film, or fashion, then circle all of the critic’s opinions, interpretations, and judgements used to form the critique.

Wrap-up

After all students are finished analyzing their reviews, ask them to share their findings with the class:

  • Who wrote the review and what did they critique?
  • Why did you choose the review?
  • Discuss what opinions, interpretations, and judgements you circled and why.
  • Did the examples you found contain comparisons? How can a comparison help you create an informed opinion?

Assessment

The following assessments can be used for this lesson using the downloadable assessment rubric.

  • Communication 1
  • Communication 3
  • Critical thinking 1
  • Critical thinking 2
  • Critical thinking 3